Outstanding Scottish and Irish entertainers vie for attention with the Bagpipe & Drum Band Playoff Challenge at the 11th annual Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival, which will take place on Main Street in downtown Dandridge, Tn., on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The Festival will begin at the Highland Stage (behind Town Hall) in Dandridge on Friday night, Sept.
29, with a reception honoring its financial sponsors and contributing patrons. The festival remains 100% sponsor and patron driven as it provides free admission to the public for all events on Saturday.
Saturday’s experience will be a trip back in time to enjoy the heritage of the original Scots-Irish who settled in East Tennessee ca. 1783, following the Revolutionary War. Visitors will experience Scottish and Irish music, Highland Dancing, Irish Step Dancing, Heritage organizations, Highland Clan booths, Highland Cattle and Black Faced sheep exhibits, Sheepdog Trials, Highland Athletic demonstrations and Storytellers for both children and adults. Scottish and Irish Food, baked goods, meals & treats will abound as well as Scots & Irish merchandise vendors, and much more.
Main Stage entertainment will feature four Scottish/Irish bands, including: The Celtic Martin Family (Newmansville, PA); The Thistledown Tinkers (Charlotte, NC); and Lonestar Stout (Dallas, TX).. The O’Kennessee Strings and Singer/Fiddler/Storyteller Kathryn Powell will perform on the Lowland Stage. Cranruach (Lexington, VA) will perform in the Revolutionary Graveyard.
The fourth annual Pipe & Drum Band Challenge Playoff Competition will include the Knoxville Pipes & Drums; the 17th Lancers Pipes & Drums (Nashville) and the Atholl Highlanders Pipes & Drum (Stone Mountain, GA) These bands will play twice each during the day as well as marching in the Ceremonial Parade on Main Street at Noon and as Mass Bands on the Dike at 4 p.m. They will be performing for public judging to take home the Best Band Award.
Individual entertainers of renown include Robert Valentine, Scottish Emcee (Murray, KY); children’s storyteller/fiddler/singer Kathryn Powell (Arlington, TX); award winning highland dancer Claire Macmillan (Knoxville) and her students; as well as award winning Irish step dancer Katie Carver (Augusta, GA) and her students from Maryville, TN.
Following the Ceilidh (concert) on Loch Douglas, most of the above entertainers will be on stage for a special Ceilidh Encore. Bagpiper Kelly Shipe will close the evening with her tenth annual rendition of ‘Piper on the Dike’ while spotlighted on the otherwise completely dark dike behind Town Hall & the Highland Stage.
‘Days Gone By’, an old time children’s playground (Sevierville) returns for their eleventh year. The Games’ Highland Heavy athletic demonstration will be performed by Randy Gratz, Lt.Col.(USAF retired) now of the Florida Keys. Randy will demo events including the caber toss, hammer throw, stone put and more. Phil Lakin will bring his Highland cattle, Scottish black-faced sheep and his Border Collie sheep dogs, a must-see exhibit for guests. Phil will also have his Border Collies perform as in a ‘sheepdog trials’ on the Dike. Roger Kelley (Jefferson City) will exhibit his Civil War books & uniforms.
There will also be a dog parade down Main Street and will feature dogs brought to the festival by visitors.
While the weekend of family fun and festivities celebrates the area’s Scots-Irish roots, the event appeals to a wide range of guests – whether their ancestors were Scots-Irish or not.
“We appreciate the approximately five to six thousand individuals who attend the Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival each year,” said chairman Mike Dockery. “Spending a weekend celebrating a unique culture and all the fun that goes along with it is certainly a sight to see.”
In addition to educating the public, the Festival aims to create a significant and lasting impact on the East Tennessee community. For information of becoming a Sponsor or Contributing Patron, please see ‘Sponsors’ or ‘Thistle Club Patrons’ on www.ScotsIrishFestival.com.
For more information about the festivities, visit www.ScotsIrishFestival.com or contact Clay Patterson at Info@Scots-Irish.com. They can also be found on Facebook at ‘Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival’. The Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival is an IRS 501(C)(3) charitable organization.